Cyprus

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Overview and productions

Cyprus is coming through the other side of the pandemic, to the extent that there are now zero cases daily. As a result, local film and TV productions have been allowed to resume with no filming restrictions and international projects are expected to arrive from August and September.

There is also no quarantining required for people coming most European countries, as well as Australia and the Middle East, including Israel, Lebanon, Jordan and the UAE. The list will be expanded to include further countries in the coming months. Visit https://www.pio.gov.cy/coronavirus/en/fly.html for the latest information.

This is great news for an island that has proven increasingly popular with major international productions, such as Demetris Logothetis’ $27.5m action film Jiu Jitsu, starring Oscar-winner Nicolas Cage, which filmed on the island last year and was the first to access the country’s new 35% cash rebate. That project has since sparked huge interest in the Mediterranean island from other leading producers.

 “As of July, we have commenced the production of a biographic documentary TV series and we are currently in talks with various international producers who want to shoot their next movies on the island,” Dionysios Manganis, executive producer at Green Olive Films, who also worked on Jiu Jitsu, tells KFTV.

Locations and permits

Cyprus is the third biggest island in the Mediterranean with one of the best climates in the world, enjoying more than 300 days of sunshine a year. 

It is located conveniently at the eastern end of Europe at the crux of the busy shipping and air routes linking three continents, Europe, Asia and Africa. So it’s well connected with direct flights to all major European cities.

The island boasts an impressive array of filming locations. Productions can shoot at a beautiful sandy beach one minute, and within an hour be in the Troodos mountains or forests, villages, modern cities and even jungles. “We filmed parts of Jiu Jitsu in incredible jungle settings just outside Limassol that resemble the jungles of Malaysia or Burma,” enthuses Simos Manganis, CEO at Green Olive Films to KFTV. Other filming locations included Cape Greco with its stunning natural rock formations, Paphos, Mammari and Liopetri.

“Cyprus is a unique, natural film studio”, enthuses Stephanie Papachristodoulou at Invest Cyprus. "Deep blue seas and sandy beaches, captivating forests and breath-taking mountains, diversified cultural sites, modern cities and traditional villages, as well as centuries of various civilisations imprinted all over the island from the Neolithic and Bronze age, the Hellenistic and Roman periods, as well as the Byzantine, Frankish, Venetian, Ottoman and British rule."

Dionysios adds: “Logistics-wise, the small size of the island is a huge benefit as it enables short and easy commuting since most locations are a stone’s throw away from each other. You can get from one side of the island to the other within three hours.”

It’s worth bearing in mind, though, that the landscapes can change depending on the season. “In winter, you’ve got lush green fields and valleys that could double for Switzerland. Put cows there and you’ve got a milk commercial. But then in summer it all goes yellowish and brown,” says Simos.

Aside from natural locations, Cyprus is also expanding its urban settings. The city of Limassol on the southern coast is proving particularly popular for shoots having just built a luxury marina with 650 berths for yachts, high-end restaurants, villas and shops. And there are some striking skyscrapers rising up on the coastline.

“Across Cyprus, the locations are incredible, accommodation is very cost-effective, especially November to March (low tourist season), transport is cheap, and the food is exceptional and low-priced, which is great for cast and crew catering,” says Andros Achilleos, founder and general manager of local outfit Sea Horse Films.

Getting permits to shoot at these various locations is usually straightforward, although there is no one single licensing authority. Production teams must consult with different relevant authorities and public services, such as the Department of antiquities, Deputy ministry of tourism and Cyprus police. Invest Cyprus can assist with this.

Crew and facilities

Although the local film industry is small in comparison to other countries, Cyprus has a strong pool of English-speaking professionals working in the film and television sector with international training and experience, from producers and sound technicians to location managers, insists Dionysios.

“The local crew are really friendly, dedicated and experienced on local and international projects, although for Jiu Jitsu we had to fly in heads of departments from Greece, and other crew from Europe and the US,” explains Simos.

“For big projects, international producers will need more time to prepare than they would normally at a more established western location with plenty of infrastructure because Cyprus is an island.”

Travel and logistics

Cyprus is a small island, so it is easy to get around. You can get from one side of the island to the other within three hours and you can change the scenery from pinewood mountains to sunny beaches within an hour.

The island is perfectly placed close to Europe, the Middle East and Africa, with plenty of flights available from these (and other worldwide) locations into Larnaca, Paphos and Nicosia airports.

Once on the island, there is no railway system, so the best way to get around is by bus or car.

If you want to ship / bring in your own filming equipment, you are advised to contact the Customs and Excise Department: headquarters@customs.mof.gov.cy.

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